Election offences & Penalties
An election offence is a criminal act committed during electoral process that compromises the fairness and transparency of an election
Election Offences include;
- use of force or violence during election period.
- use of public resources.
- participation in elections campaigns by public officers.
- unlawful expenditure in campaigns.
- offences relating to use of technology in elections.
- employers to allow employees reasonable period for voting.
- aiding and abetting offences.
- breach of electoral code of conduct.
Election officials and members of staff of the commission are not allowed to;
- Conduct activities related to polling duties without making an oath of secrecy.
- Make any false or untrue entries to any materials under their custody
- Permit assistance to voters who are able to read and write
- Prevent any voter from casting their vote in the right polling station
- Reject or refuse to count a vote intended for any particular candidate
- Count a doubtful ballot paper
- Interfere with the casting of vote in secret
- Offer undue advantage to any political party or candidate
Election Candidates are not allowed to;
- Treat voters, including influencing a voter to vote or refrain from voting for a particular candidate, promising a reward or aids provision of foodstuffs to voters or makes payment in any manner to a voter
- Directly or indirectly threaten use of force or any form of harm
- Compel a person to vote in a particular manner
- Prevent a person from being nominated as a candidate
- Influence the result of an election
- Use public resources
Causes of election offences
- inadequate voter and civic education
- lack of faith in the electoral body
- lack of faith in the electoral process
- lack of awareness of the electoral process.
- lack of awareness of legal provisions by political parties.
- wrong attitude of political party leaders.
- political repression, harassment and intimidation.
- breakdown of conflict management mechanism.
- ethnic balkanization into regional and ethnic divisions.
- undue political influence.
- political greed.
- political repression.
- compromised security system.
- inaccessibility of the polling center especially for the disabled and senior citizens.
- lack of appropriate voting materials for special groups.
Ways of preventing election offences
- Conduct effective and continuous voter education.
- encourage dialogue among different stakeholders in the electoral process.
- enhance accurate and responsible reporting on electoral processes by the media.
- enhance effective monitoring system of the electoral process.
- enforce the code of conduct on election offences.
- enhance inter-agency collaboration and net
Penalties for election offenders vary based on the nature of the offense.
- Offences relating to register of voters attract a fine of up to Kshs 1 million and to imprisonment of up to 6 years.
- Offenses relating to multiple registration attracts a fine of up to Kshs 100,000 or up to 1 year imprisonment or both and is further not allowed to participate in that election and the next election.
- Offenses relating to voting process are penalized up to Kshs 1million or imprisonment of up to 6 years or both.
- Election officials’ offences attract a fine of up to Kshs 1 million- or 3-years imprisonment or both. Candidates who commit any offence get disqualified from running in the seats they are seeking.